‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease
about something with an uncertain outcome.’
We all have these feelings from time to time but sometimes,
for a variety of reasons, they can become harder to control.
In recent years we have seen an increased number of patients coming for help with anxiety often mixed with low mood and feelings of helplessness recognisable as depression.
Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder (NICE 2007; Clinical Evidence 2007). They can be chronic and cause considerable distress and disability. As well as emotional symptoms such as worry, disturbed sleep, irritability and poor concentration, anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, diarrhoea, dry mouth, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold hands, muscle tension and aches, trembling and twitching.
Research suggests that over two thirds of the estimated three million UK sufferers fail to seek treatment. A study carried out by the British Acupuncture Council and Anxiety UK believes this could be down to a lack of understanding of the options available, especially with complementary therapies such as acupuncture. The study found that 66.5% admitted that they just ‘try and get on with things’ rather than seek help, even though 50% said the condition affected their career and relationships.
How acupuncture can help?
Chinese medicine understands anxiety as one of the ‘Five Minds’ [wǔ zhì] 五志, mental states that enable us to navigate our environment.
‘Anxiety’ [yōu] 憂 describes the natural human mental state of reflection that observes our surroundings and keeps us safe. In a healthy, balanced, physical and mental state it is a component of our self-awareness that enables us to protect ourselves.
Imbalance within this aspect of your physiology can potentially lead to anxious feelings and heightened alertness when there is no need. This we would diagnose as an anxiety disorder.
How does acupuncture work?
Specific diagnostic techniques, such as tongue and pulse diagnosis, abdominal and channel palpation, alongside talking, are used to identify patterns of physiological disruption.
Needles are then used in specific points that stimulate and rectify your mind and body’s normal physiological function.
We also seek to understand the ‘root’ [běn] 本 cause of the disruption, to ensure that it doesn’t simply return once treatment has ceased.
How do I book an appointment?
Click here for details about how to book appointments.
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- American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Ed., Text Revision). Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association.
- National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2007. Quick reference guide (amended) Anxiety: management of anxiety (panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia, and generalised anxiety disorder) in adults in primary, secondary and community care. Clinical Guideline 22 (amended) [online]. Available: http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG22/QuickRefGuide/pdf/English
- Office of National Statistics 2000. Psychiatric Morbidity among Adults living in Private Households. [online] Available:
- World Health Organization 2007. International Statistical Classification of Disease 10th revision (ICD-10) [online]. Available: http://apps.who.int/classifications/apps/icd/icd10online/